More on the FBI and ACLU
Over at Volokh, Orin Kerr writes “The New York Times ACLU Story Begins to Look A Bit Fishy.” The essence of Kerr’s argument is that with the ACLU’s request for any document mentioning the ACLU, of course they’re going to get a lot of documents:
I should point out that it is at least theoretically possible that all of the documents that “refer” to the ACLU are actually “on” the ACLU. At the same time, my tentative sense is that Lichtblau’s story may have a significant error.
So this seems to be plausible. The way that Federal agencies interpret Freedom of Information Acts compel citizens to make broad requests. Naturally, the FBI has lots of documents that mention the ACLU. There’s doubtless over 1200 pages of lawsuit memoranda.
But if this is the case, why are there over twice as many documents about Greenpeace? (2,383 Greenpeace, 1,173 ACLU.) It would seem reasonable that the ACLU would be mentioned all over the place. So, for now, I’ll stay with the “on” hypothesis: That whatever spin may be in the press release, the FBI has been compiling dossiers on the ACLU.
Also, Daniel Solove has a good update to his article discussing the trust aspects of the FBI and the ACLU.